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Qatar World Cup 2022: Tunisia risks ban from event over possible political interference

Warning from Fifa comes after several comments from sports minister about the possibility of 'dissolving federal bureaux'
Tunisia are drawn in Group D at the World Cup, with begins on 20 November, and face France, Denmark and Australia in Qatar (Reuters)

Fifa has warned Tunisia that they are at risk of being expelled from next month's World Cup in Qatar if the country's government interferes in football matters.

The warning from football's world governing body comes after several comments from Tunisia's youth and sports minister, Kamel Deguiche, about the possibility of "dissolving federal bureaux".

In recent months, Deguiche has also called on the FTF, the country's football federation, to postpone the domestic league and review kick-off dates, according to a report by the BBC.

The British broadcaster said Fifa considers Deguiche's statement as an attempt to meddle in the running of the FTF, and has asked the latter for clarification about attempts to interfere in its internal affairs and threats to dissolve its office.

Fifa has also reminded the FTF that member associations are "legally obligated to conduct their affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties".

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"Any failure to comply with these obligations may result in the imposition of penalties under the Fifa laws, including suspension of the relevant association," said a letter from Kenny Jean-Marie, Fifa's director of member associations, to FTF general secretary Wajdi Aouadi.

Member federations of the Zurich-based organisation must be free from legal and political interference.

Any ban would mean no Tunisian club or national sides would be allowed to compete in either continental or international competitions.

The BBC said Fifa had given the FTF no later than Friday to reply regarding its position following Deguiche's comments.

It is not the first time the FTF has been involved in controversy, with the Tunisian club Chebba accusing it and its president, Wadie Jary, of purposely misleading the Court of Arbitration for Sport in April 2021 before the legal body later ruled in the club's favour.

Tunisia are in Group D at the tournament, with begins on 20 November, and face France, Denmark and Australia in Qatar, having previously never advanced from the group stage in five previous appearances at the World Cup.

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